In a joint statement after key military talks on September 21, India and China agreed to stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may complicate matters.
While the development is being seen as an effort by both sides to not allow the border row to escalate further, the situation on the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) remains tense and there has been no thinning of military buildup in the eastern Ladakh theatre.
Five points on how things stand today:
- Both sides will soon hold the seventh round of commander-level talks with the aim of taking measures to solve problems on the ground, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity on the border. Expectations from the military dialogue are not very high as both armies have made their positions known to each other.
- At the September 21 talks, Indian negotiators firmly demanded comprehensive disengagement at all flashpoints and restoration of status quo ante as the only approach towards de-escalation. However, China asked India to withdraw its soldiers from strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso to reduce friction.
- The scope of the military talks has changed vastly after recent developments on the southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso, where the Indian Army has taken control of advantageous heights.
- Both sides are prepared for the long haul in the Ladakh theatre where they have made arrangements to provide logistics support to thousands of troops who are likely to remain deployed in the sector through the winter.
- China has deployed sizeable military assets in the eastern Ladakh theatre including 50,000 troops, 150 aircraft, tanks, heavy artillery, missiles and air defence systems, with India matching every military move made by the neighbour. The combat ratio between the two forces is 1:1.